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Utility firms to pay lane rental for digging up roads

Very welcome news from the BBC that the Department of Transport are proposing that utility companies should be charged a fee for the amount of time they spend digging up the roads.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond says

"Everyone knows how frustrating it can be when you are sat in a traffic jam, unable to get to work or drop off the children at school because someone is digging up the road.

"This disruption is expensive as well as inconvenient, with one estimate valuing the loss to the economy from road works congestion at £4bn a year. We simply cannot afford this.

"That is why I am putting forward proposals which would incentivise utility companies and local authorities to carry out their works at times when they will cause the minimum disruption to the travelling public."

This is something that the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has called for. Improving the traffic flow is a key objective of his. "We are at last starting to see an increase in average speeds in London, inching up to  not quite supersonic levels of 9.4mph," he said recently. My own borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has the worst congestion in the capital apart from the City of London. I hope the Government will get on with this change as soon as possible and that the utility companies will  be made to pay without just being allowed to use their monopoly power to pass on the cost of their lackadaisicalness to their customers.


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